Corruption and the Opposite to Corruption A Map of the Conceptual Landscape

Corruption has been viewed through many lenses within different academic disciplines, taking on different meanings along the way. As a result, corruption as a concept has effectively acquired a multidimensional character. In order to support our main contention of corruption as a multidimensional concept, this chapter first traces the evolution of corruption as a concept; establishing it to have been present within both politico-religious thought since Aristotle as well as pointing out the absence of a republican understanding of corruption within the literature. Second, the authors map the different conceptualisations of corruption over time, showing linkages between corruption and human rights and corruption-justice-impartiality that need further exploration, as well as define corruption as a universal concept. Finally, they utilise it as an umbrella concept that helps bring related concepts such as clientelism, patronage, patrimonialism, particularism and state capture onto one spatial field. This is done by separately defining each concept, followed by a comparison to corruption, in order to fully flesh out the nuances where the overlap between corruption and each concept occurs. This provides a bird’s eye view over the literature, enabling the reader to see the connections between the related concepts and the far stretching reach of corruption within academic research.

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